January 5, 2006

Two Local Firemen Travel South To Aid In Hurricane Relief Efforts

A winter trip to Florida means sun, beaches and relaxation for most, but for a pair of Scotland County firemen who recently returned from the Sunshine State after a 30-day stint with the Federal Emergency Management Agencys hurricane relief efforts, the pictures were much different.

Walt Marlowe and Roger Gosney recently returned to Memphis after taking part in FEMAs relief efforts in Florida where residents are trying to recover from hurricane Wilma. The volunteer firemen had initially filled out the paperwork in response to the national call for 3,000 emergency personnel to fill in for firemen and law enforcement agencies stretched to the limit by the hurricanes that devastated much of the south in 2005.

But when the two men finally were called to service, it was in a much different role. Gosney and Marlowe were put to work in FEMAs rebuilding process as inspectors for the FEMA trailer housing and leasing program.

Basically we spent 30 days inspecting damaged home sites, determining the feasibility of placing a temporary FEMA trailer on the site to house the hurricane victims, Marlowe stated.

The travel trailers were delivered to sites where Gosney and Marlowe signed off on safety and accessibility requirements including utility services. The US Army Corp of Engineers delivered the temporary housing units ready for occupancy. Gosney and Marlowe then returned to the site to finalize the paperwork for the 30-day temporary housing lease with the property owner. The agreement currently is available for renewal for up to 18 months while the homeowner replaces property damaged by the hurricane.

It wasnt the type of work we are used to as firemen, Marlowe stated, but it was still very satisfying to be able to help these people who lost their homes. Ill never forget the woman who was in tears when she thanked us when her FEMA trailer was delivered. She said she could now sleep comfortably after having to fight with bugs, snakes and scorpions that had infested her mobile home that was damaged by the hurricane.

After arriving in Orlando for training on November 6th, the two men worked their way down the east coast of Florida centering efforts in the communities of Fort Pierce and West Palm Beach.

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